Tethered Hovering Platform (THP)

Track Code: 

The invention is a lightweight device that remains tethered in place to a base unit on the ground by cables, can be equipped with various types of surveillance equipment, and can quickly elevate vertically into the air by simple controls.


Hovering platforms designed with ducted rotors or shrouded rotors have several instabilities. Traditionally, these types of hovering vehicles are able to be stabilized with expensive and complicated stabilization electronics and control mechanisms. The ideal unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of today should be capable of withstanding all weather conditions while still being inexpensive to manufacture, user-friendly, and simple to deploy. The KU invention achieves this by utilizing low-cost parts and manufacturing processes, a simplified user interface, and a unique aerodynamic damping system that provides inherent stability.


Multiple law enforcement and border patrol activities, including: aerial crowd management, aerial surveillance, accident investigation, search and rescue, fire control.

How it works: 

The device hovers above a base station, which may be transported in, or incorporated into, a ground-based vehicle. The device is held aloft by one or more propellers driven by an electric motor. The body of the device is attached to the base station by one or more tethers, which restrict movement while providing a conduit for power and data transmission. Damping devices are incorporated into the device to provide stability in gusty conditions. Fixed and interchangeable payloads including sensors for various applications can be flown on the platform, depending on the end user requirement.


Easy to deploy, operate and transport; lightweight; low energy consumption; stable in adverse atmospheric conditions; low manufacturing and operating cost; meets FAA requirements.

Why it is better: 

The use of tethers and a passive damping system eliminate the need for expensive control systems and electronics. The system's cabling also allows it to be powered by a typical vehicle's 12-volt accessory outlet, rather than a battery, and allows smooth, safe, pulley-controlled takeoff and landing with minimal user input.

Other Applications: 

Aerial photography, crop monitoring, weather monitoring, construction site monitoring, land planning and development.

Licensing Associate: 
Michael Patterson, JD · m.patterson@ku.edu · 785-864-6397
Ronald Barrett
David Borys
Alex Gladbach
Dustin Grorud
Andrew Spalding
US 8,777,157